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True Deception    by Patricia Waddell order for
True Deception
by Patricia Waddell
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

This story picks up where last year's True Blood ended - Cullon Gavriel, Korcian Enforcer and Joint Commander of the Directorate is about to dispatch fellow warrior and good friend, Aedon Rawn to the planet Hachyn where he's to make contact with the leader of the Citizens for Freedom. Rumours abound that the factory planet's manufacturing facilities are being retooled to produce weapons. If these rumours are indeed fact, both men know that the peace and stability that the galaxy has worked so hard to maintain would be drastically threatened.

Aedon is eager to begin his mission. For the past four years, he's hungered for revenge against the Conglomerate pirates who murdered his wife and daughter. Once he arrives in the Outer Regions of Hachyn it doesn't take him long to make contact with a high-ranking member of the rebels. Despite careful subterfuge to shake off any spies, neither he nor Kala Char'ari is aware that they've been betrayed until it's too late. They manage to escape the trap but others are not so lucky. Kala has dedicated her life to freeing her people from the greedy Conglomerate's machinations and doesn't trust easily. Now she's forced to risk everything, including her heart, to a shadowy stranger who promises freedom, but who could very well turn out to become an even greater enemy to her cause.

Waddell's world building is exemplary and enhances what might have otherwise been a rather tepid plot. Kala and Aedon are both portrayed as strong individuals and their relationship - as warriors setting aside their mistrust to work together in bringing down the Conglomerate - is equally well done. Their romantic involvement however, isn't as convincing, overshadowed as it is by all the political intrigue and action - no matter how many times Kala internalizes over Aedon's amazing chameleon eyes. Overall, though, True Deception is a well-written, nicely paced vision of the future, that should appeal most to readers who prefer stories heavier on action and adventure and light on romance.

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